by Tony "Tosh" Brooks
I could go on for hours listing everything we’ve replaced, mended, up-graded, re-built etc, but needless to say it would be a lot quicker to list the parts that haven’t been replaced!
We stripped the engine and gearbox out, and sourced a second hand replacement box. The engine was totally re-built from top to bottom, and now purrs like a kitten. Every ancillary was cleaned, replaced, sand blasted, powder coated or painted before being re-fitted.
The electrical system was over-hauled, so everything worked as it should. We fitted a new speedo and cables, choke cables, kick down cables, and any other cable we could find. Every hose, every clip, every gasket, every bush, every joint, everything.
While the engine was out we prepared and re-painted the engine bay. Not to concourse standard but good enough for us. This was after all going to be a car that we would use, and not just be for showing off.
Gus welded the inner wings, the wheel arches, the inner and outer sills, the floor pans etc, which were pretty bad I places, but there was good metal to weld to, so we knew it would be good and strong for years to come and get through a proper mot this time!
While he had his welder out, he also welded new wing bottom repair panels, door bottom panels, and A-post repair pieces etc, so the body panels could be prepared ready for painting.
By the this time the rear “camper” part was still as it was, ready for a “light” renovation further down the line, but that wasn’t to last!
We had a couple of good “family” weekends, where my daughter Claire and her husband Carl, and Gus’s kids Julie and Mike, and Julie’s fiance Kurt came down and helped us gut the camper interior as it was well rotten, damp, heavy and old fashioned.
We wanted to fit a modern interior, with all the mod cons of a modern motor home, and get totally away from the “Old Lady” flowery, 60’s retro look that everyone would expect to see in a conversion like this, so everything had to go!
We were hoping to save the external sidings and the roof, but when we got on the roof we realised the previous owner had poured gallons of tar over the roofing sheets, in the vain hope of stopping water ingress to the interior. So Carl set about stripping all that off, and obviously that lead to stripping all the corner trims off, and the broken roof light off, and before we knew it there was not much left!
With the roof panels off we started to look at the rest of the aluminium sidings; they were dented in several places and the hand carved wood trims weren’t really our style. The side windows were far too long and were going to restrict building the interior as we wanted.
The entry door needed to be re-built, and a new window fitted. The gas locker door was a big heavy thing that would ultimately be in the wrong place in our new design, and the original fridge vents were in the wrong place too. So the decision was made to strip the whole thing back to the bare bones and pretty much start again.
We were working on it outside in our yard up to this point, as the weather was pretty good through March into April. Then as I was slowing down a bit on my own job and had space in my unit we managed to bring it inside before the rains came, ready for some paintwork and moving forward with the camper re-furb.
All the body panels had a coat of sealer and several coats of primer, and the engine bay was painted ready for the engine & box to go back in. The windscreen rubber seal needed to be replaced, so the screen was taken out before preparing the roof and scuttle for paint.
We’d ordered the new sidings and roof panels from Eltheringtons in Hull, and these were coming pre painted white, so we had to wait for delivery before we could order the two pack paint for the body, as we wanted it to colour match perfectly.
While waiting for the delivery we got on with re-building the rear wheel arches, as they were far too high and a complete bodge of wood and fibreglass. Gus fabricated nice solid sheet metal arches, which would be fully water proof, and could easily be insulated from the inside.
Next time - the restoration continues
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